I’m failing spectacularly.
It’s November 1, and most of the visions I had for 2014 are not even close to being reality. I need look no further than this blog. It sits here, barren, waiting for my words to populate its pages and attract visitors to click on links.
I have been thinking about where my obstacles are, and how to get back on track. And then …
All around me, people are advising me to be more disciplined with my writing.
Maybe this is what I need to get myself back on track? I clicked the link and saw that the first day’s prompt was about commitment. I was about to join the Lift challenge, and then I realized:
This will not help me.
This has nothing to do with whether I am willing to commit. I used the Lift app in its early days and have some opinions on whether an app like Lift can really help instill long term change. I will leave those thoughts for another time.
This is about whether a writing challenge will help me get unstuck.
As I was about to grasp on to this apparent solution to reverse my spectacular failure, I realized:
Writing is not where I’m failing.
I already write daily. I write more on some days than on others, but I write daily. I know you want to know how many words I write, like it matters (it doesn’t, but more on that another time). Trust me, I write a lot.
My words sit locked in the prisons of my various writing and note-taking apps, waiting to be released to the crowded streets of the words published online.
They reside somewhere in my “Black Hole” of Evernote notes, or in my Drafts App inbox or archive, or maybe they are in my Byword files, or one of two Google Drive accounts. Many are likely in DayOne, an app where I have done all of my journaling for over a year. Some are even sitting in WordPress, as draft posts.
They share space with half-written posts that I started, and then never finished because the next idea came or something important and urgent required my attention and then my mind was on to new thoughts.
Some are actually written longhand, as in actual pen touching actual paper of a Moleskine notebook.
My words are almost everywhere.
Where they are not, is on my blog.
To be fair, there are plenty of blog posts still living in my head, and some discipline in getting them out of my head and onto paper (or screen) would probably serve me well.
But in my rare moment of clarity, I realized that the “Write 500 Words Every Day” challenge is not the remedy to fix my failure. Participating in this particular challenge would be an attempt to fix something that isn’t broken.
Writing is not where my problem lies.
Putting words on paper is not where I struggle.
For me, writing words in a notebook or typing words on a keyboard is easy—at least most of the time. It’s easy to write something for myself as a way to “figure it out” — as Dan Pink so brilliantly talked about in the commencement address he delivered at Northwestern earlier this year.
But perhaps the daily writing prompts will give me concrete topics to tackle — apart from whatever I write to “figure it out”?
Perhaps, but here, too: not a problem that needs to be fixed. Finding things about which to write comes pretty easily to me. Really, it’s not that hard. Every day brings me new experiences. New insights. If anything, I have too many inputs and prompts. (Don’t hate me; if you’re stuck for ideas, hit me up and I’m happy to give you some.)
My mind is flooded with ideas. I have yet to find a system that allows me to capture them as quickly as they come. No matter how much I write, it hardly ever seems to make a dent.
I know you’re skeptical. I hear the question forming in your head:
If you are abundant with ideas and you write so much, where are all the articles and posts you write?
I’ll get to that tomorrow. Because I’m already over my 500 words for today.